You didn’t expect your pregnancy to fly by, but it has. The day you decided to place your child for adoption seems like a not-so-distant memory. Somehow, after you found an adoption agency and choose your child’s adoptive parents, time flew by. Now you can’t help but question yourself: am I ready for the next step?
It’s okay to be nervous! Giving birth is a sacred event. It’s a time when the miracle of life is witnessed, emotions are heightened, and — with an adoption pending — when you, as an expectant mother, need to be in control. Having a sense of authority is necessary in order for you to process your emotions and finalize what may be one of the toughest decisions of your life.
Now that you’re nearing your due date, you want to feel better prepared. Adoption Choices of Colorado is here to do just that by helping you create a hospital plan! We know that your hospital stay will most likely be when the finalization of adoption truly hits home. It’s an emotional time for all. While no amount of preparedness can fully take away the flood of emotions you’re sure to have on your delivery day, having a breakdown of events will help you know what to expect.
A hospital plan can be a list or a document detailing what you do or do not want during your hospital stay. Creating one before you go into labor helps you mentally prepare for the process. It also allows your adoption professionals and adoptive parents to understand exactly what you want your stay and delivery to look like. Here are some questions to consider when creating it.
Who Do You Want to Be Present During the Birth?
Giving birth is an intimate experience. Whether you decide to have anyone else in the room with you is your decision and yours alone. Some mothers allow the prospective adoptive parents to be part of the birthing experience. Generally, this is so the hopeful adoptive mother will feel a part of a birth she may never experience herself. But don’t feel obligated. The adoptive parents will understand if you aren’t comfortable having them involved during this vulnerable time. Your hospital experience is about doing what is best and most comfortable for you and your baby. If you want to be alone or with only the birth father, that’s more than okay! All birth stories look different, but they always include one woman struggling physically and emotionally as she brings a new life into this world amidst an unfair amount of fear. Don’t feel a need to please anyone else by allowing them to be present or have a role in the labor process!
Do You Know the Wait Time for Consent of Adoption?
As a birth mother, you retain parental rights for a time after your child is born. But these rights soon legally transfer to the adoptive parents shortly after the finalization of placement. In the state of Colorado, there are two options for completing your consent for adoption:
1) You can expedite the adoption by filing with court on the beginning of the fifth business day after the birth of your child. This does not include the day of birth, weekends, or holidays. Once your agency files paperwork with the court, a judge has up to seven days to sign the final order. When the final order is signed, you cannot change your mind. This consent for adoption is only offered to birth parents that the birth father is known, the child is under the age of one, and is not registered Native American. In this case the birth parents do not have to personally appear in court.
2) The other option is called “traditional relinquishment.” This is done when any of the following are true: there is an unknown birth father, the child is over the age of one, or the child is registered Native American. In this case, your agency still files paperwork on the beginning of the fifth business day after your child’s birth. But you have to appear in court under oath and testify to a judge. Often times, it takes two to three weeks to get on the court schedule. Upon this completion, your rights as a birth mother are terminated. Your agency then has temporary legal custody, and the adoptive parents have temporary physical custody. In Colorado, your adoption agency keeps legal custody for at least six months. During this time, an agency representative performs several post-placement visits. After your child has lived with the adoptive parents for six months, the adoption finalization is contingent upon your agency’s consent.
Will You Want Alone Time With Your Baby Post Birth?
During your hospital stay, you decide how much time you spend with your child. Many birth mothers decide not to see their baby after delivery because they are trying to protect their hearts. They know themselves and feel certain that if they do see their child, it will be much more difficult to place him or her for adoption. While the decision is up to you, statistics indicate that spending more time with your child, however difficult, can help you grieve and give you the closure you need. That said, think carefully about spending time with your baby. Even having him or her in the room with you. Many times, birth mothers who change their minds about adoption are the same ones who make the decision not to spend much or any time with their baby while in the hospital. Because these birth moms did not have the bittersweet experience of seeing, holding, feeding, and taking photos of their baby, they never had the opportunity to process and grieve healthfully. In these cases, a birth mother’s unanswered questions and feelings can then become so overwhelming that she ends up changing her mind about the entire plan.
You can spend as much time with your baby as you wish, with the adoptive parents present or not, at any point during the hospital stay. Adoption Choices of Colorado urges you to remember that you know your needs better than anyone else does. You know how to best take care of yourself!
Do You Want Visitors During Your Hospital Stay?
Some birth mothers want to be alone before, during, and after labor and delivery. On the other hand, some encourage visitors. No matter how many people want to be there, you are the person who decides what happens. Take a moment to think about your family and friends. If they visit, will you still be able to take care of yourself as best as you’re able? If you are the kind of person who needs to have a little bit of separation from others when you are emotional, then you may need to put up a boundary and decide not to have any visitors. Deciding who you want to have supporting you during this emotional time is important.
Do You Plan to Name Your Child?
Your child will have to be named in the hospital. If you do not want to name him or her, your adoption counselor can choose a name for you. But if you do, you can pick a name you like. Whether this is a name that is meaningful to you, or the name of a family member — it’s up to you. Nevertheless, don’t forget that the adoptive parents have the option to change your child’s name later on. It will appear on his or her Amended Birth Certificate. If you are thinking of using a name to which you are attached, be cautious. You may feel hurt if it is changed. If you speak to your adoption professional, he or she may be able to find out how the adoptive parents are planning to go about naming your baby. You may be surprised to find that they’re happy to name your child with you. Don’t be afraid to ask!
Are You Prepared for Emotions Post Adoption?
Placing a child for adoption is a very emotionally complicated decision, one that will affect you for the rest of your life in various ways. It’s a huge loss that needs to be mourned. Preparing for these emotions will allow you to spend the rest of your pregnancy and hospital stay caring and loving for your child.
Post birth, you will experience a range of emotions, with grief often being one of the strongest. But while grief can be consuming, it won’t be the only emotion you’ll experience. Some other emotions commonly felt by birth mothers are: guilt, anger, sadness, depression, anxiety, and poor self-esteem. It’s also possible you’ll doubt your decision to place your child for adoption. Don’t worry. These emotions are normal! It will take time to grieve your previous role as a legal mother, but healing is possible.
There’s No Right or Wrong Answer
These are hard questions, and it’s important that you don’t get bogged down thinking there is a right or wrong answer to any of them. Adoption will be difficult no matter what you do, so do what you feel is best for you and your child.
Adoption Choices of Colorado knows that your hospital stay will likely be the most emotional part of the adoption process. But don’t forget that, even with a hospital plan, you have the right to change your mind about some of the finer details. While planning is effective, you won’t know how you will actually feel until the time comes! Stay strong. We’ll be with you every step of the way.
Adoption Choices of Colorado
For more information on adoption please contact Adoption Choices of Colorado. We can be reached via our website or phone 303-670-4401.
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Patience Bramlett, a University of Southern Mississippi news editorial graduate, is a seasoned and award-winning freelance writer. She is also a passionate reader, whose only wish is to live life without fear of the unknown. Her motivation and inspiration to live her best life stems from the words of John Lennon:
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
This year, she’s joining Adoption Choices Inc. as an Editorial Intern. Fueled by her love of family, she hopes to educate those looking to grow their families through adoption.
When Patience is not exploring Colorado with her husband, she’s drinking coffee, forever figuring out how to tame her hair, growing her library, and trying to break into the publishing career.
Rosenhaus, Nancy. “Making an Adoption Hospital Plan.” Adoptions With Love, 12 July 2017, adoptionswithlove.org/birth-parents/adoption-hospital-plan.
“What Happens At The Hospital Before, During & After The Birth?” Adoption Network, Adoption Network Law Center – Safer Than Adoption Agencies, adoptionnetwork.com/how-to-adopt-the-ultimate-guide/ap-guide-hospital.
“What Is a ‘Birth Plan’ in Adoption?” Birthmothers Choice, 15 Sept. 2016, www.birthmotherschoice.com/what-birth-plan-adoption/.